Two Fundamental Contradictions that Doom the Left

The American Left relies upon two moral imperatives to attract supporters and demonize their opponents: saving the planet and fighting racism.

In both cases, however, the Left’s chosen policy solutions stand in opposition to well-established facts. Moreover, these facts that doom leftist policies to failure are not subtle. They don’t require convoluted explanations. Anyone with common sense may grasp them, which is why the Left must rely on deplatforming and cancel culture. It is why they must accuse their critics of being “deniers” and “racists.” They cannot argue the facts.

Contradiction No. 1:
Ban Fossil Fuel Without Any Viable Alternative

Instead of addressing genuine environmental challenges, such as poaching of endangered species, overfishing the oceans, or grossly unhealthy air in cities like Beijing and New Delhi, America’s Left instead has focused almost exclusively on combating “climate change.”

But their remedy, “decarbonizing” the economy by eliminating fossil fuels, ignores the indisputable fact that fossil fuel production must rapidly increase in order to meet the demands of a growing world economy.

For everyone on Earth, including Americans, to consume half as much energy as Americans currently consume, global energy production would have to increase to 2.5 times its current output. Meanwhile, in 2018, biofuel, solar, and wind energy combined supplied just over 3 percent of total energy produced in the world.

Reasonable people can disagree over the so-called “carrying capacity” of the planet. Maybe mining the moon, the asteroids, and the ocean floor will yield more mineral riches than humanity could ever need. Maybe high-rise organic agriculture, aquaculture, synthetic (but hormone and antibiotic-free) meat, and total water recycling will fulfill the nutritional needs of 20 billion people without degrading land and ocean ecosystems. Maybe fusion power, or satellite solar-power stations, or carbon-neutral biofuel grown in tank farms could provide abundant energy. Maybe inviting megacities will attract billions of people to move off the land in an entirely voluntary migration, taking pressure off the wilderness.

To get from here to there, however, fossil fuel is absolutely necessary.

The alternative is global energy poverty, leading to every environmentally undesirable consequence imaginable: stripping the forests for wood fuel and game meat, poaching beautiful endangered species to earn money for food, trawling the oceans for the last bits of protein, incessant wars over resources, and unchecked population growth to cope with life on a ravaged planet.

This dark scenario is what will happen if fossil fuel use is precipitously eliminated. Environmentalists need to support investment in breakthrough technologies, not cancel pipelines and shut down drilling operations. Soon enough, renewable energy will be economically competitive with fossil fuel. But for now, more energy, of all kinds, is desperately needed to deliver prosperity to billions of people.

Affordable energy equals prosperity equals literacy equals female emancipation equals voluntary family size reduction equals zero-population growth sooner rather than later. That is the equation that should motivate environmentalists, not the impossible demand to eliminate the use of fossil fuels before cost-effective alternatives emerge.

Contradiction No. 2:
Demand Racial Quotas Without Requiring Equal Standards

The United States over the past 50 years has engaged in one of the most radical demographic transitions ever experienced by a nation at peace. In 1965, when mass Third World immigration began under the Hart-Celler Immigration Act, the percentage of Americans self-described as white was 84 percent. As of 2015, America’s white population had declined to 62 percent.

But that is only half the story. The most common age of a white American in 2018 was 58, whereas the most common age for Asians was 29, African Americans, 27, and Hispanics, 11. In 2014, for the first time, racial and ethnic minority babies became the statistical majority of U.S. children under 1 year of age.

Also beginning in 1965 was the laudable passage of civil rights legislation designed to eliminate racism in America. But over time, these laws went beyond demanding a color-blind society to demanding affirmative action to ensure that minorities are proportionally represented in all American institutions, from academia to corporations and even to the arts and sciences.

When “minorities” constituted 15 percent of America’s population, enforcing proportional participation in literally everything may have been a crude way to combat racial discrimination, but the consequences were limited. But when the “minority” becomes the majority, the consequences will be far-reaching.

Can America’s research universities, corporate labs, government bureaucracies, public utilities, military and law enforcement, etc., operate at maximum efficiency if all personnel at all levels have to display proportional representation of all ethnic groups?

The Left’s remedy to racism in America—to the extent it even still exists—is to enforce these ethnic quotas in all American institutions. But this ignores the indisputable fact that there are significant differences in average academic aptitude between ethnic groups.

One of the most objective measurements of scholastic aptitude is the SAT test administered to high school seniors. Scores on this test are highly correlated to future success in college and lifetime earnings. Average SAT scores differ sharply among ethnic groups. In 2018, for example, the average SAT score differed among ethnic groups as follows: Asians, 1223; whites, 1123; Latinos, 990; blacks, 946.

The bare minimum SAT score required to get into MIT is 1500. In 2018, that score was achieved by 7 percent of Asians, 2 percent of whites, and less than 1 percent of blacks and Latinos. To cite a more mainstream example, a score of 1250 is considered the bare minimum to get into UCLA. In 2018, that score was achieved by 46 percent of Asians, 23 percent of whites, 9 percent of Latinos, and 5 percent of blacks.

The implications of these facts are discomforting, and any solution is controversial. But the Left thinks the solution is to exclude more highly qualified people and blame all disparities on racism. Not only does this result in America’s institutions being staffed by less-qualified people, but it also foments justifiable resentment among those excluded, and equally justified insecurity among those preferred.

Confronting the Truth with Compassion and Courage

It is easy to follow the crowd and demand an end to fossil fuels. It is easy to blame differences in education and income on racism and demand mandatory quotas. But these are not solutions. Without apology but also without rancor, opponents of the Left must expose these contradictions and offer practical solutions.

Those who understand the unavoidable necessity for fossil-fuel development need to reject accusations of being “climate deniers” and offer forceful counterarguments using facts and logic.

Instead of carpeting the earth with windmills, invest in renewable energy research. Solve the electricity storage challenge, without which renewables have no hope of replacing conventional energy. Invest in fusion energy or biofuel that can be grown in tank farms. Support space exploration and industrialization, so energy and raw materials may be sourced from other terrestrial bodies in the solar system. Support environmentally safe extraction of minerals from the ocean floor. Recognize that fossil fuel is absolutely necessary in the short run and demand honesty from the Left, along with their allies in academia and the media.

As America becomes a multiethnic  nation, those who truly care about everyone, regardless of ethnicity, need to remind the Left of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

If the Left claims “colorblind” and “meritocracy” are “code words,” don’t just tell them to shut up. Expose their true agenda. For decades, they have spread a message of victimhood so they could keep people dependent, staff their government assistance bureaucracies, and, more recently, replace teachers in colleges and universities with grossly overpaid “diversity, inclusion, and equity” administrators.

Worst of all, their leftist dominated unions have destroyed our public schools, especially in low-income minority communities. Maybe they should fix that before they keep on screaming “racism” at every failure they encounter.

The fate of all humanity, not just that of America, depends on debunking these two fundamental premises of the Left, both of which are easily contradicted by facts. Doing so will eventually doom the Left to irrelevance. Not doing so, on the other hand, dooms us all.

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About Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also the director of water and energy policy for the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).

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